In 2011, university friends Tom Barton, 29, and Philip Eeles, 32, were joined by experienced restaurateur Dorian Waite, 48, to turn their pop-up fast food venture into a bricks-and-mortar upmarket burger chain. Having secured a reported £7m investment from Active Private Equity in January 2015, the trio are aiming to have 20 burger bars open by the end of 2016. Honest Burgers ranked at No 2 on the 2015 Sunday Times Fast Track 100.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Having to ‘grow up’ in a very short space of time, learning how to be professional, and in particular, becoming responsible for employees.
What has been your best business decision?
Opening our first bricks and mortar outlet in Brixton, which proved the concept worked, and then opening the second outlet in Soho, which showed we could scale-up the business effectively.
What has been your worst business decision?
We started offering free meals to new subscribers to our mailing list – 7,000 people joined within a few hours, costing the company more than £16k.
Which business leader would you most like to share a meal with, and why?
Julian Metcalfe (founder of Metcalfe's Food Company and itsu, and co-founder of Pret a Manger), to hear about overcoming obstacles, building a concept and instilling a successful employee culture.
What company do you most admire, and why?
Pret, for the reasons above, and Chipotle (the Mexican restaurant chain) for its dedication to staff development and employee engagement.